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Five Tips for Post-Penguin Link-Building

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Online giant Google seems to roll out updates to its algorithms every other day in an effort to establish absolute relevancy of search results and an improved user experience.

The penguin might be an adorable-looking creature, but when Google Penguin was announced on April 24, 2012, it proved a nightmare for SEO experts and website owners alike. The rankings of countless websites fell like soldiers on a World War I battlefield.

According to various sources, the reason for the Penguin update was the identification of websites that were using black hat SEO techniques such as cloaking, link schemes, keyword stuffing, duplicate content, and so on.

Much has been said and done about post-Penguin link-building. Here are five foolproof tips for improving your rankings in a Post-Penguin world.

1. Social Spells Success

We are living in the social media age, and link-building and social media have become interconnected.

Whenever you post fresh content on your blog or website, make sure you share it on all of your social media pages. Doing so should be a reflex.

Many blogs, for example, have failed badly despite regular posts. Why? Because they were not sharing those posts over Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn. What is the point of boasting about your vast numbers of fans and followers if you are not showing them your content?

Social sharing helps you spread your content virally, beyond your fan base, and voila! You get likes, +1's, retweets... What's there to lose? Zilch!

2. Inner-Page Linking

Although the homepage is arguably the most important page of any website, Google is going to raise an eyebrow if it finds all your backlinks pointing to your homepage—a mistake that SEO practitioners and website owners often make.

Internal linking is very important, because that is where the real content is on your website. It makes no sense to Googlebot that links aren't pointing to the content on the inner pages of the website, where articles, posts, videos, and guides are available.

Take time to improve your website's link structure and make sure that the right keywords are directing the users to the right internal pages of your website.

3. Diversity of Anchor Texts

It is time you get a break from some traditional SEO practices because another element Google Penguin addresses is on-site and off-site over-optimization.

Imagine how annoyed Google can get when it feels that you are forcing it to rank you for a specific keyword such as "cheap cars for sale." Google will find it highly suspicious that all of your link partners are using the exact key phrase to link to you, which not only happens to be pasted over your title bar but homepage as well.

If people choose to link to you naturally, they would likely use different anchor texts to do so. So ensure diversity of anchor texts. Doing so will eventually get the search-results wheels rolling in the right direction—toward the top. Diversity is the key.

4. Quality Over Quantity

Google is going to penalize you if it finds that you have a large number of backlinks from sites that are untrustworthy. This is imperative: One link from a high-quality blog is better than 30 from unreliable sources.

Go for quality. Even if that means a small number of links, they will work in your favor. You don't want to go to sleep every night wondering whether you are next on Penguin's hit list.

5. Charm With Link-Worthy Content

Last but not least, you must stay focused on producing content that others find link-worthy. Stuff that fails to engage readers is not going to get you anywhere, because a bad user experience is synonymous with low Google rankings. Give your readers something that encourages them to stay with you and come back again.

Content is, and will always be, king.

* * *

With the tips above, you will be able to take your website's link-building in the right direction in a post-Penguin online world. Although the rules of the game have changed, link-building is not rocket science. But, when done correctly, it can work wonders for you.

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Anna Moseva specializes in SEO techniques for Promodo, a European internet marketing company headquartered in Kharkov, Ukraine, with offices in the UK, Kyiv, and Moscow.

Twitter: @promodo_en

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  • by Rishi Wed Feb 20, 2013 via web

    I think the "Quality over Quantity" aspect pointed out is dead on. Many online marketers buy into link building schemes that don't deliver any results - mainly because the link is placed on poor ranking websites, have bad anchor texts, or are blacklisted by Google. Instead, they should be buying into quality websites that have a good reputation and produce content frequently. One way to convince reputable websites to add your link for free is through content marketing. Get access to all our marketing cheat sheets including at

  • by David Regan White Wed Feb 20, 2013 via web

    Always wondered the optimum social media integration strategy for SEO? What platforms, tactics, most bang for the buck?

  • by Jozef Bűry Thu Feb 21, 2013 via mobile

    Great post. I have always (even before penguin) explained to our customers: links should be natural, coming from your intetesting content. Do not buy them or exchange just to have them, even they are not relavant to your content.

    So I am glad penguin came. But even now there are customets willing to buy links from new kind of links farms and still need to explain them the same things.

    So more blogs and articles like this and hopefully people will finally realise that they need to start creating valuable content and not looking for ways to fool GOOGLE.

  • by Ron Fri Feb 22, 2013 via web

    Great work, Anna. You've captured the core issues, and you've laid them out clearly. You know the great thing about your list? It doesn't require sophisticated, high-tech SEO strategies. These are the things that ALL of us can easily incorporate, and spend much less time worrying about the next Algorithm Update! Thanks.

  • by James Sat Feb 23, 2013 via web

    Thanks for the information.

  • by Danie Fri Mar 1, 2013 via web

    Great article! Nailed it head on.

  • by Link Wheel Wed Dec 11, 2013 via web

    "Manual" link building is more time consuming, but it builds a solid group of links to relevant sites that will hopefully last a few years.I think that social bookmarking, link wheel pro and forum posting still work to gain a direct traffic, not just ranks. And getting a traffic is a linkbuilder´s task No 1, it only depends if you get it through SERP or directly. I still consider above mentioned ways useful as a supporting method.

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